Today, no matter your political persuasion, you cannot ignore Oprah Winfrey. Anyone who watched the Golden Globes saw a presidential candidate who was a tour de force. I hadn't plan to write about Oprah, but it is impossible not to do so.
As a former broadcaster and political observer of many years, I respectfully say that the timing of Oprah Winfrey's entry on the political stage is as near perfect as a potential candidate could want. The reason the speech she delivered at the Golden Globes is resonating so strongly with so many is because she had the ability to give a speech that's exactly what much of our country has been yearning to hear. Consciously or not.
If you missed it, read it.
Her passionate words spoke to women as well as men, young as well as old, black as well as white, and rich as well as poor. She inclusively pulled us in with heart and smarts. When you can do that, you've hit a political home run. Especially if you're a woman who happens to be black. Especially if you're thinking of running for President of the United States.
Oprah Winfrey has been masterful in her ability to translate the past tragedies of abuse and poverty in her own life into extraordinary professional success. That couldn't have happened without enormous inner strength, and an instinctive understanding of what it takes to do more than survive. Oprah's success has been based on relatability. No matter how wealthy she has become, or the media empire she has built, or her acting achievements, Oprah Winfrey has perfected the ability to touch the humanity in people. It's a quality that only the best politicians possess.
The current state of political affairs in our country is its own tragedy. Leadership is not a guiding light of hope, but rather that which is creating epic proportions of divisiveness and anger. It speaks of a bleak future that is pulling too many down and lifting too few up.
Is it any wonder that a speech delivered at a Hollywood gathering, one that was able to address the good and the bad while aiming for a better tomorrow, has been received as it has? With the strength of great oratory, Oprah's closing words were met with resounding applause that rang from the entertainment capital to living rooms across the nation:
"In my career, what I've always tried my best to do, whether on television or through film, is to say something about how men and women really behave. To say how we experience shame, how we love and how we rage, how we fail, how we retreat, persevere and how we overcome. I've interviewed and portrayed people who've withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights. So I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say "Me too" again."
Oprah Winfrey became the first black woman to receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award bestowed by the Hollywood Foreign Press for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment. This time it was an award that launched a political career for a woman whose star has risen yet again.